Bay Area honors Vets and Dreamers

December 19, 2013
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(top) Randy Craig, Eduardo Robledo, Tony Marcus, Velina Brown, Barrett Nelson, Sebastiaan Faber, and Bruce Barthol; (bottom) Catherine Eusebio. Photos Richard Bermack.

(top) Randy Craig, Eduardo Robledo, Tony Marcus, Velina Brown, Barrett Nelson, Sebastiaan Faber, and Bruce Barthol. Photo Richard Bermack.

The musical program at the ALBA annual reunion on the West Coast—written, directed, and composed by Peter Glazer, Bruce Barthol, and Richard Bermack— framed the day’s political business: honoring the young immigrant activists of United We Dream (UWD), recipients of the 2013 ALBA-Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism.

Paying tribute to the Lincoln volunteers as internationalist activists, ALBA chair Sebastiaan Faber spoke about the immigrant origins of most of the men and women who went to Spain to aid the Spanish Republic. “Three-quarters of a century later, the fight for basic human rights continues; only the battlefield has shifted.” Speaking of the Dreamers, he said “Their cause is not to fight the denial of education to the people of Spain in the 1930s, but those in our own country, right now. United We Dream is a national network of youth-led immigrant activist organizations fighting for the rights of millions of undocumented immigrants, of all nationalities, in the United States.”

Catherine Eusebio, board member of UWD from the Bay Area, told an enthusiastic audience how individual youth, raised, if not born, in the United States know this country as their home.

Catherine Eusebio. Photo Richard Bermack.

Catherine Eusebio. Photo Richard Bermack.

Musical selections reflected this theme, including a Spanish-English version of Woody Guthrie’s classic “Esta Tierra Es Tuya (This Land Is Your Land).” The performers, led by Bruce Barthol (bass), with Randy Craig (keyboard/banjo), Tony Marcus (strings), Barrett Nelson (guitar), Sebastiaan Faber (trumpet), and singers Eduardo Robledo and Velina Brown, brought special exuberance to the day.

Their voices carried on a strong tradition of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. As Carl Geiser put it, “We sang while we marched in our training camp. We sang as we marched toward the battlefront. When hungry and exhausted from fighting all day and marching all night, we sang to revive our bodies to drive ourselves still further.  When overwhelming forces drove us back, when all appeared hopeless, we sang as we rallied to do the impossible. We even sang when we faced the firing squad.”

Yvonne Corbin (r) and friend. Photo Richard Bermack.

Yvonne Corbin (r) and friend. Photo Richard Bermack.

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Peter Carroll. Photo Richard Bermack.

David Kirley and Martha Olson Jarocki

David Kirley and Martha Olson Jarocki. Photo Richard Bermack.

JudyMontel-JoanBalter-daugher-vet-MartinBalter-P11104--Bermack

Judy Montell and Joan Balter. Photo Richard Bermack

Stephanie Brown, daughter of Archie Brown. Photo Richard Bermack

Stephanie Brown, daughter of Archie Brown. Photo Richard Bermack

Freda Tanz, the wife of Al Tanz, and Ruth Maguire, sister of George Kaye and former wife of Bill Bailey.  Photo by

Freda Tanz, the wife of Al Tanz, and Ruth Maguire, sister of George Kaye and former wife of Bill Bailey. Photo Richard Bermack.

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